Without Support From AVC Technology, The Shelby County Public Library Couldn’t Serve Its Community The Way It Does Today

Company Name: Shelby County Public Library

Name & Title: Janet Wallace, Library Director

Location: Shelbyville, IN Website: www.myshelbylibrary.org/

Industry: Public Service

When we started out, we needed a desk to check in and check out books and that was about it. We didn’t need a lot of technology,” shared Shelby County Public Library Director, Janet Wallace. Today, libraries around the United States offer so much more than books: game rooms, free public computers, and film centers are just a few of the technology-centric services that have become integral to the library experience in Shelby County.

The library itself has been serving the Shelby County community since 1903, ringing in its 120th year this year! Of those 120 years, Janet has been there for 42, so although she wasn’t around when the library offered $1 showers to its patrons, she has seen a lot of changes during her tenure. When it came to technology—perhaps the biggest category of change aside from physical building renovations—the library needed help. Luckily, they connected with AVC Technology all those years ago and hasn’t looked back since.

The connection came because the library needed a computerized accounting system in the 1980s. As the accounting team was trying to transition payroll, monthly reconciliations, and other processes to a digital solution, AVC Technology stepped in with advanced accounting software. Now, decades later, the library still uses AVC Technology’s accounting software.

To Janet and the rest of the library staff, AVC Technology’s commitment to listening to their customers is what sets them apart. “Every year they have a user group for our accounting and payroll system, and they ask, ‘What can we do to improve?’” Janet shared. “They adapt the tools to our needs,” she elaborated, “and you don’t get that with a lot of these systems.” Although the dynamic partnership between the Shelby County Library and AVC Technology came to life because of the accounting department’s needs, it has blossomed into a full-service IT provider relationship in the last 40-something years.

Libraries have played a central role in communities for hundreds of years. Most people only think of checking out books, but library staff are passionate community leaders and spend their days curating a communal space that can be enjoyed by everyone. For the 40,000 residents in Shelby County, the library is meant to be a safe place of expression, art, learning, and collaboration. In today’s technologically advanced world, it’s not possible to provide all those benefits without the right IT infrastructure. “We’re a more community-based library, and as a result of that, we have done a lot of upgrading with technologies and using AVC throughout the years,” Janet explained.

Just think about it—no other small business offers free computers to the community to use for professional, academic, or personal needs. “We have a free computer lab for people to come in and look up whatever they need to look up—even if it’s Facebook,” Janet explained with a chuckle. Small businesses spend hours every year teaching their employees how to navigate the internet safely, showing them what to avoid clicking on and where to report suspicious behavior. But with a library, there’s no guarantee that members of the public know about cybersecurity and internet safety, making the right cybersecurity measures incredibly important.

“We even have a kiosk that provides legal forms to our patrons, and eventually, we hope to be able to connect them to real lawyers for consultations,” says Janet. When working with sensitive information and private legal matters, keeping that information secure is critical to keeping the Shelby County community safe. AVC Technology has continuously proven that they are up for the challenge by proactively recommending new solutions, staying up to date on new regulations and requirements, and fixing problems before the library staff is even aware of them.

In Indiana, the State Board of Accounts is the governing body for more than 240 libraries. It sets regulations, updates compliance policies, and dictates rules that libraries must follow in order to stay open. Especially now, as libraries around the nation face increased scrutiny, the regulations set by the Indiana State Board of Accounts are changed regularly, making it hard for library staff to keep up with changes. AVC Technology goes above and beyond as an IT service provider because Lisa Johnson, the co-CEO of AVC Technology personally attends the workshops hosted by the SBOA to ensure all library clients in the state are in compliance.

When browsing the AVC Technology website, there’s a small banner at the top of the page that says, “Are you a library? Click Here.” When clicked, the link takes visitors to a suite of resources tailored completely to libraries. They’ve created a customized set of solutions for libraries. Everything from IT security to VoIP phone systems and accounting solutions are well within the realm of what AVC can help with. Librarians are passionate about what they do, and they need an IT service provider that matches that level of passion, which isn’t always easy to find.

From the small stuff to the big stuff, AVC has been with the Shelby County Library every step of the way. “Our phone system got messed up on Saturday and it was working on Monday when I arrived. They fixed it over the weekend,” Janet beamed. “If you want a local group that listens to what you need, AVC is the place to go. They are a mom-and-pop organization, but they do efficient work and have high standards for themselves. I would recommend them to anyone, and in fact, their accounting software is already in a lot of libraries in the state.”

For the last 42 years, Janet has given herself to the community. As she wraps up her last year as the Library Director, she has a lot of people to say goodbye to. “I’m retiring at the end of the year, and those types of people [AVC] are going to be the people I will miss because I won’t be connecting with them regularly.” Building a functional community space that changes and adapts with the needs of the community is a team effort, and for Shelby County Library, AVC is an integral part of that team.